CBN News — The controversial new CIA torture report created by Senate Democrats says the spy agency’s harsh interrogation methods did nothing to make America safer after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
But President Barack Obama’s own CIA Director John Brennan is still defending the results of those interrogations, saying they actually did prevent terror attacks and save lives.
Brennan admitted in a statement that the agency made mistakes and has learned from them. But he also asserted the coercive techniques “did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives.”
“We know that the program led to the capture of al Qaeda leaders and took them off the battlefield, that it prevented mass casualty attacks and that it saved thousands of American lives,” George Tenet, who was CIA director at the time, said.
Former Deputy CIA Director John McLaughlin told NPR the torture report is inaccurate because Senate Democrats did not talk with everyone involved in the interrogation program.
Still, both sides agree that harsh tactics were used, including sleep deprivation, waterboarding, and methods that inflicted mental or physical pain on terrorism suspects.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic committee chairman whose staff prepared the summary, branded the findings a stain on the nation’s history.
“Under any common meaning of the term, CIA detainees were tortured,” she declared.
At least one Senate Republican is supporting the report. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., cited his own torture during his captivity during the Vietnam War as one reason for opposing harsh CIA interrogations.
“I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than good intelligence. I know that victims of torture will offer intentionally misleading information if they think their captors will believe it,” McCain told the Senate.
“This question isn’t about our enemies; it’s about us. It’s about who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be. It’s about how we represent ourselves to the world,” McCain said. “Our enemies act without conscience. We must not.”
But some Republican leaders say the report doesn’t really do any good.
“This particular release, in my judgment, serves no purpose whatsoever other than to endanger Americans around the world,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., agreed saying, “It will endanger CIA personnel, sources and future intel operations.”
Meanwhile, former intelligence officials, including three previous CIA directors, have created a website to criticize the report, called CIAsavedlives.com.
Report via CBN News